Saturday, 23 May 2015

Taking stock after Kent loss

Kent 235 (Coles 66, Norwell 4-44) and 243 for 2 (Denly 117*, Northeast 88*) beat Gloucestershire 193 (Handscomb 69, Coles 3-49) and 282 (Marshall 83, Thomas 4-53) by eight wickets

In theory, losing at home to perennial strugglers Kent is a terrible result. Especially given our last two county championship outings had ended in excellent victories away from home. What's worse, we conceded 88* to Sam Northeast and an unbeaten century to Joe Denly (last first class ton, May 2012).

Not great, right? It may not be that bad after all. One half of the Jessop Tavern View was at Lords on Thursday for the first day of the New Zealand series (also Day 4 at Bristol). England slumped to 30-4, before recovering to post 354-7 at the close of play, once the new ball was seen off and the pitch showed its true and placid nature. This theme continued as New Zealand batted through most of Friday and are still going strongly on 400+ as we write this on Saturday afternoon.

At Bristol, Kent were set 241 after Matt Taylor departed to the first ball of the day. They lost two early wickets, with Miles having Bell-Drummond pouched by Dent in the slips and then Aussie West Indian Brendan Nash caught behind in the much-improved Liam Norwell's first over.

From then on, things got easier, as Kent consolidated and reached 88-2 at lunch. After the lunch break was a different story, as the ball softened and Denly and Northeast opened up and began to play their shots. Denly went to his hundred from 179 balls and by then it was game over. Both men were still there at the end, having put on a match-winning 208 from just under 53 overs.

So there you have it. The pitch flattened out on the final day and a smallish target was chased down with relative ease. Disappointing, yes, but equally not the end of the world. Denly's career has stalled in recent years, but he remains a good player and Northeast is also a decent Division 2 bat.

So after 5 championship games, Gloucestershire sit in a creditable 4th place in Division Two and just 4 points behind second-placed Northants. Sunday sees our third t20 game v Essex and the return of (now just one- day and T20) skipper Maxi Klinger after an excellent domestic season Down Under.

Depending on how much of a glutton for punishment you are, you can watch highlights from the rest of the match below.

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

Monday, 18 May 2015

Unknown t20 competition launched in England

t20 Blast: Sussex 167 for 5 beat Glos 161 for 9 by six runs.

An interesting experiment as to how far the t20 Blast competition has fallen from public view was carried out by one member of the Jessop Tavern View over the last 10 days. Does moving house and relocating to the other end of the country enable you to have any idea that a national cricket competition in the games most popular format has begun? The answer, conclusively, was no. With limited time and media access, the t20 blast competition has fallen so far down the pecking order of sporting interest that it has completely managed to bypass someone who has a genuine interest in county cricket.

Some bloke called Pietersen hasn't exactly helped the ECB to launch what should be its flagship domestic product, but even so, a quick check on the Guardian app today demonstrated that whilst a over-by-over update from the IPL was being linked direct from the front page, Gloucestershire's t20 Blast match with Sussex was tucked away in shame. That a game from a domestic Indian competition can override a English t20 match speaks volumes about how far this competition has now fallen. Maybe George Dobell is right when he says the ECB are just trying to kill it off so that franchises have to be created. Maybe this wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Today Glos fought valiantly in defeat to Sussex which, whilst disappointing, still points towards a decent t20 campaign ahead for Glos.

Winning the toss and electing to field Glos did well to restrict Sussex to 167 for 5 with some tight bowling coming from the unlikely sources of not only James Fuller, but also from Tom Smith who took 3 for 24.

In reply Glos lost regular wickets early on to leave themselves constantly fighting an uphill battle. O'Mish top scored with what according to the official Glos website was a 'masterful' 45. The fact that the official website now considers 30s and 40s by O'Mish as 'masterful' says everything we need to say. Sadly the loss of wickets throughout meant that despite a sparkling cameo of 36 from only 20 balls from Jack Taylor the target remained out of reach for Glos.

As if to emphasise the Jessop Tavern's confusion over the launch of the t20 blast, Glos return to 4 day cricket tomorrow with a visit to bottom of the table Kent. Nothing whets the appetite for t20 cricket like some 4 day cricket mixed in with it. Utter nonsense.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

What's going on? Glos in dominant T20 win shocker

Gloucestershire 179 for 3 (Cockbain 91*, Marshall 56) beat Middlesex 175 for 3 (Compton 78) by seven wickets

Twenty20 cricket has not been Gloucestershire's strong suit in recent years. Underpowered batting, easily targeted seamers and expensive spinners have not been enough to back up our excellent fielding side.

The pattern looked set to continue when Glos were set 176 to win after allowing Nick Compton, of all people, to strike a T20 career high of 78. It's rarely a good sign when a man who was dropped from the test team a couple of years back for being too slow and stodgy suddenly opens up and gives you some 20 over tap. At least he makes amusing YouTube videos, which makes him striking you all over the park that much easier to bear.

Still, we bowled and fielded well and the highest score aside from Compo was just 39 from Paul Stirling.

The Glos chase got off to a good start, with O'Mish happy to be back to a form of the game which suits him best. What that means in layman's terms is that he can simply turn off the brain and swing that bat to his heart's content. This is something he's rather good at and helped him put on 98 in 9.3 overs with skipper Ian 'Kurt' Cockbain after Chris Dent departed early.

Cockbain has been named T20 captain this season and it's great to see him actually play a match, let alone strike a match-winning 91 not out from just 49 balls. Cockbain is a bit of a favourite here at the Tavern, we think he's good enough to play 4 day stuff as well, but a first class average of just 30 hasn't really helped make that case. By all accounts though, he's been in good nick for the 2nd XI and here he showed his T20 prowess with 9 fours and 5 sixes in his knock.

By the time Marshall departed for 56 the match was almost done, despite a failure for Peter Handscomb, and Cockbain sealed the deal with his 5th six.

A great win to start off the campaign. Having checked out last season's performance, we're reminded that Glos were scuppered in our efforts to reach the knockout phases by a somewhat harsh 2pt penalty, imposed by the ECB for a sub-standard pitch at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival. This year we have with a clean slate and a good win under our belts already. This may be the perfect chance to push on and at least make the quarters of a competition where we surely have as good a chance of success as any.

So there you have it, three wins in a row in all competitions and the Tavern has lurched into extreme optimism mode. Long may the rise of the Shire continue!

Ian Cockbain's post-match interview below:

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Something in the water as Glos wrap up consecutive away wins

Gloucestershire 388 (Dent 116, Marshall 58, Tavare 53, Jarvis 4-121) and 275 for 9 dec (Marshall 92, Handscomb 76, Siddle 4-39) beat Lancashire 364 (Horton 168, Norwell 4-95) and 208 (Petersen 63, Davies 58, Miles 4-58) by 91 runs

Away Championship wins are a rare treat for Gloucestershire fans. Back-to-back away wins are rarer than rocking horse dung and has the Jessop Tavern View pondering where this rich vein of championship form has come from. The easiest conclusion was to look to the impact of assistant coach Ian Harvey. Harv was legendary for his refuelling exploits (who can forget the time when Craig Spearman had to act as his driver after a drink-driving ban) and the Tavern wholeheartedly approves of any oversight he may have had on the team's hydration regime.

This being 2015 of course, we suspect Harv's impact may simply consisted of adding a different sachet to the latest energy drink swilled by the bowlers between overs. Whatever it was, it has worked an absolute treat as the boys romped to a convincing victory over league leaders Lancashire.

The match went about as well as coach Richard Dawson could have hoped. Glos batted first and scored almost 400 on first innings, with Chris Dent again impressing with 116 and O'Mish and Tavarare ably supporting him with 50s. We then managed to bowl out Lancashire's high-powered batting lineup for a slim first innings lead of 24. Liam Norwell again excelled with 4-95, while Craig Miles managed 3-71 while maintaining an excellent economy rate of under 3 an over. This was fine bowling effort in an innings anchored by Paul Horton's 168.

Glos encountered a spot of bother in the second innings, falling to 76-3 with a lead of just 100, before Kiwi Irishman O'Mish and Aussie Brit Handscomb came together for a match-defining partnership of 134 which took the Shire to a handy lead of 230, before a final day collapse left Lancashire 300 to win in a minimum of 70 overs.

A superb start by the bowlers reduced Lancashire to 22-4, but we then had to deal with a couple of minor scares as Petersen and Alex Davies put on 100 for the 5th wickets before falling either side of tea. Lancashire managed some lusty blows off Tom Smith, who took some serious tap in the second innings (8-0-71-0!) to get the target under 100, but when Clark and Buck departed in quick succession it was only a matter of time. The wild scenes of celebration when Miles takes the final wicket in the video below shows how much this win meant to the boys.

A superb result and one which, amazingly, takes the Shire to second in the table after 4 matches heading into the first T20 games at the weekend. A home game against strugglers Kent follows on Monday. If the boys can continue the momentum from two excellent away wins, we could be in the dreamland of chasing promotion come mid-season.

Promotion, you say? Well, a blog named after a former drinking establishment at Nevil Road can hardly be criticised for ideas that could well be seen as having been conceived while under the influence of something a little stronger than one of Harv's energy drinks.

Match highlights below:

Day 4

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Is it too early for an early season report card?

The Jessop Tavern View is not often noted for our posting frequency. Days and even weeks go by without a post, particularly once summer rolls around and we lose enthusiasm once Gloucestershire begin to plateau. Keen-eyed readers will note that we have yet to recap the final day of the Derbyshire loss last week. (For obvious reasons, given our post after Marty Guptill's assault on Day 2 effectively ended the game as a contest, despite a 2nd innings fightback from the boys.)

Instead of doing that we thought we would reflect on the first three championship games of the season, what with Glos in joint 4th place on 34 points, having won one, drawn one and lost one so far. We also have just the one more Championship match before the disruptive T20 starts on Friday 15th.

So, how have the boys done?


A mixed bag so far. We have had some issues in the first innings, with few individual scores over 50, the notable exceptions being Geraint Jones' 80 v Northants and Gareth Roderick's 56 against the same opposition and 76 v Derbyshire. The Essex game saw two fifties in a solid first innings performance, which while only totalling 245, gave us a lead of almost 100 which set us up beautifully to get at Essex in their second innings.

Roderick has started the season in great nick, but needs to ensure he starts making hundreds rather than pleasant 50s. Chris Dent has begun to exhibit overdue signs of consistency and his hundred against Northants saved the game. We are still somewhat prone to collapse and it would be good to see the senior players O'Mish and Jones scoring runs more consistently to help support the younger players.



The attack has shown signs of becoming a handy Division Two unit. Liam Norwell's 10-fer against Essex showed that he can marry his natural wicket-taking ability with a decent economy rate when the mood takes him.

Craig Miles hasn't necessarily had the chances with the new ball that we might have expected, yet he still has 12 wickets at 28 after his 6-63 in the Northants game. Matt Taylor took 5 for 89 in one of the few bright spots against a rampant Derbyshire. James Fuller has been an expensive disappointment and it was no surprise to see him rested for the Essex game in favour of David Payne.

Payne took 5 wickets against Essex, but more pleasingly he was apparently the brains behind the switch to bowling a slightly shorter length which led to Norwell ripping through Essex on Day 1. Maybe he too is maturing as a professional.

Clearly we have no spinner, but not a big issue at this stage.



This has been an unexpected weakness so far. The boys have shelled a prodigious number of catches already this season. One of the most costly was Guptill, dropped by 'cymbals' Jones on 57- he went on to add another 170 to that while also being dropped again by Will Tavare on a day when we shelled 6 catches while going around the park.

Things have improved since then, with Chris Dent taking 5 slip catches in the Essex win. Coach Richard Dawson should definitely ensure standards are raised on the fielding front though. As an inexperienced batting and bowling outfit, one of the few areas we can get an edge is in catching and ground fielding.


Up next, another tough away fixture against Lancashire at Old Trafford. Lancashire were obviously one of the pre-season favourites and can boast several players who fail the Guptill test proposed in our of our recent posts. Clear violations include Alviro Petersen (36 tests, last in Jan 2015 and also a dubious non-overseas signing after retiring from international cricket) and Ashes-bound Peter Siddle (56 tests, last in Dec 2014).

To a lesser extent there is also Kolpak signing Ashwell Prince (last test 2011). Prince may be pushing 38, but he remains a fine player, as evidenced by his 153 in this week's match versus Northants. This was Prince's 12th ton for Lancashire and he has scored almost 5000 first class runs for them in several spells as both overseas and Kolpak.

All in all more than enough firepower to give us a hammering, should they feel like it. Having come off a frustrating draw against Northants this week, they will surely be pushing for a home victory against an inexperienced Glos side.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Glos seal a dominant win in casual style

Day 3: Glos 245 and 114 - 1 hammer Essex 159 and 199 by 9 wickets

If the first two games of the season indicated a Gloucestershire team in 2015 who teetered on the brink of being both half decent and half terrible then lets hope that a Liam Norwell-inspired victory tilts the balance in favour of the former, rather than the usual latter.

Glos have been here before in recent years. Many times. Many, many times. They look good. They look bad. A young player emerges and looks good. Then looks bad. A veteran player suddenly remembers the years when they were good. Then they look bad. You get the picture.

When Liam Norwell made his debut in 2011 with an impressive 6 for 46 that indicated a young fast bowler with plenty of wicket taking potential. Injuries have really prevented Norwell from progressing beyond being more than a rotation bowler used in the squad rather than a frontline leader of the attack. Maybe this will all change after he pretty much single-handedly won this match for Glos. Or maybe he will go back to being bad.

His second innings 6 for 33 were career best figures (as were his match figures of 10 for 65) but it was the bursts of wickets that made the difference. 4 wickets in 16 balls in the first innings was followed up with 3 wickets in 11 balls in the second innings, both spells essentially deciding the match as Essex failed to recover from either.

Remarkably, Glos then didn't then make us sweat as they knocked off the runs. The Jessop Tavern View would have had good money on a fifty partnership last stand for Essex coupled by a comedy collapse leading to a nervous run chase. No chance.

After their struggles in the last game against the mighty sabre of Martin Guptill, this performance from the bowlers demonstrated a real show of character to produce a win on a ground that hadn't seen a Gloucestershire win since 1930.

Slightly worryingly however seems to be the role of leading Gloucestershire bowler Craig Miles. Having started the season with 6 for 63 against Northants Miles seems to be struggling to make an impact. Glos seem to have decided he is better used as a second change bowler and so far this season Miles has barely been trusted with the new ball. Exactly why, we have absolutely no idea. The fun part of being a county cricket fan is that whilst you may be able to pick up on this sort of detail you'll be damned if you can find an answer to it.

Still, this aside, Glos now have one win, one loss and one draw on the season. A far from terrible start. We have a young bowling attack finding its feet, and a batting line-up who whilst being century-shy are at least all contributing. A tail that starts at 8 with either Craig Miles or James Fuller is still the real weak link but hey, this is division two. Teams at this level are supposed to have glaring flaws.

Video highlights from Days 2 and 3:

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Glos out-do their doppelgangers

Gloucestershire 77 for 0 (Dent 42*, Tavare 32*) trail Essex 159 (Mickleburgh 42, Norwell 4-32) by 82 runs

Everyone once in a while you encounter a side very similar to your own. Essex may well be that side. Captained by former England wicketkeepers, both sides feature talented young number 3 batsmen, portly Kiwi allrounders, ageing Southern Hemisphere batsmen masquerading as EU players, young left arm seamers who have regressed a bit after promising starts, plus a smattering of handy young Englishmen. Oh, and England's Ravi Bopara has represented both counties, although with varying degrees of success.

One other similarity is both counties' love of the batting collapse. Considering the level of talent available in the Essex batting lineup, they have had a tremendous number of comic batting collapses in recent year. Not least the hilarious 20 all out against Lancashire referenced in Cricinfo's write up of today's play. Thus it was no great surprise when, having been put in after losing the toss on a rain-delayed first day, Essex failed to capitalise on a solid opening partnership of 61. Liam Norwell decided to bowl fewer four balls than usual and benefited to the tune of 4 for 2 in two overs as Essex struggled to 106-8. David Payne also got into the act, taking 3 wickets of his own, although at a more typical economy rate of almost 5 an over.

A final connection between the two sides is the Malik family link. Essex have signed the younger brother of former Pakistan captain and Glos overseas player, Shoaib 'double top' Malik on a short-term contract. A good job too, as the 29 year old struck a valuable 25 coming in at number 9 to help Essex from a truly awful first innings total to one which is merely bad.

Still, 159 all out was put into perspective as Dent and Tavare set about a decent opening partnership of their own, reaching 77 without loss at the close under sunny skies. The Jessop Tavern View is by no means as optimistic as Cricinfo's Tim Wigmore, who signed off by saying Gloucestershire may be envisaging their first win at Chelmsford since 1930. We would simply be happy if the boys manage to avoid a repeat performance of Essex's batting performance tomorrow.

Video highlights from Day 1 below: